The NJ State Police is expanding a new mental health crisis program

A program that matches New Jersey State Police officers with mental health professionals in a low-key, non-confrontational manner is expanding.

The New Jersey State Police will receive a competitive $549,750 grant from the federal government to bolster the ARRIVE Together mental health response initiative in parts of Cumberland County and other areas of the state.

According to Colonel Pat Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, ARRIVE is an acronym for Alternative Responses to Reduce Instances of Violence and Escalation.

A unique team

He said in the program, a soldier works alongside a mental health screener, “and depending on what type of calls come in for someone with a behavioral or mental health crisis, the soldier goes to that place along with the mental health screener.” sent.”

He pointed out that ARRIVE Together has been incredibly successful in moving people away from the criminal justice system and more into mental health programs to get them the help they need.

Callahan said the last half of the calls received involving someone with a mental health crisis resulted in law enforcement having to use force, but “out of nearly 150 of those contacts since we started this, there has been zero use of.” Violence, that statistic in and of itself is truly phenomenal.”

He said when a soldier and the mental health screener are dispatched, the soldier is in civilian clothes and drives an unmarked car.

“What we’re seeing is just the temperature going down almost immediately and making that relationship that it doesn’t. People know you won’t leave your living room in handcuffs.”

crime scene of the police

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What’s the message

He said the message being conveyed is we will try to get you the help you need.

Callahan said he remembered when he was a young soldier: “There were certain addresses and names, you heard that address coming up and you’re like, oh, now we’re going again, and what we’re seeing is the drop in service calls for the same people.”

He said the result is more time for soldiers to pursue other law enforcement duties and calls, while people get the help and mental health support they need more quickly.

He pointed out that the program also encourages soldiers and mental health screeners to follow up a few weeks after an incident and visit the person to see how they are doing.

fulfillment of their mission

Callahan added the program has helped the community and state police fulfill their mission to “treat people with compassion, and under the Constitution, this ARRIVE Together program has been one of our greatest achievements.”

The grant, offered by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, is titled Connect and Protect: Law Enforcement Behavioral Health Response Program. The purpose of the grant program is to support cross-system collaboration between law enforcement and behavioral health to improve public health and safety responses and outcomes for individuals with mental health disorders and co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.

A portion of the Connect and Protect grant will fund an expansion of the state police’s ARRIVE Together program in Cumberland County. The state police will award the rest of the funds as competitive sub-grants to other law enforcement agencies trying to set up their own ARRIVE Together program that works with mental health providers.
David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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